How is your electricity generated?

This page tells you what ingredients go into your state’s energy mix

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States use many methods to produce electricity.

Do you know where electricity comes from in your state? Depending on the location, energy can come from sources as different as nuclear power and the wind. Throw in a heaping helpful of coal in most states, hydroelectric sources in others and you get a complex energy stew.

Choose Energy® analysts, using the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, compile the October Electricity Generation Report detailing the energy mix for each state using numbers from July 2020. The data delivered some expected results – West Virginia depends heavily on coal, for example – and some surprising ones – Vermont gets more than 24 percent of its power from solar generation. Continue for more from the October Electricity Generation Report.

How the states stack up

It figures that Texas produces the greatest share of the country’s electricity – about 12.4 percent. There’s a reason that the Texas oilman is such a cliché.

The top 10 energy-producing states

State % of US total State % of US total
Texas 12.0 New York 3.5
Florida 6.1 North Carolina 3.3
Pennsylvania 5.7 Alabama 3.2
California 4.8 Georgia 3.0
Illinois 4.3 Ohio 2.9

Following is the state-by-state breakdown of major sources of energy production (petroleum, geothermal, biomass and other sources are excluded). Total electricity is measured in thousand megawatthours.

How each state generates electricity

State Total electricity (thousand megawatthours) % from coal % from hydroelectric % from natural gas % from nuclear % from solar % from wind
Alabama 13,311 18.3 5.3 48.2 25.6 0.0 0.0
Alaska 645 0.0 25.1 51.6 0 0.0 0.0
Arizona 11,469 12.3 5.3 50.6 25.5 7.9 0.4
Arkansas 5,944 36.3 2.8 36.1 22.8 0.5 0.0
California 19,763 0.1 13.6 45.4 6.5 28.0 6.6
Colorado 4,989 35.1 3.5 38.9 0.0 5.0 19.0
Connecticut 4,413 0.0 0.9 60.8 35.0 2.5 0.0
Delaware 886 6.5 0.0 88.9 0.0 2.4 0.0
Florida 25,089 7.9 0.0 76.5 9.6 3.0 0.0
Georgia 12,432 17.0 1.9 50.4 24.4 0.0 0.0
Hawaii 779 13.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 168 5.8
Idaho 1,806 0.0 59.6 25.4 0.0 4.4 9.1
Illinois 17,668 22.6 0.1 23.7 48.6 0.4 4.5
Indiana 9,476 56.6 0.0 37.6 0.0 0.7 3.2
Iowa 5,746 41.3 1.6 19.9 6.2 0.0 30.3
Kansas 5,254 42.2 0.1 9.2 16.9 0.2 31.3
Kentucky 7,378 68.2 5.3 25.7 0.0 0.1 0.0
Louisiana 10,629 5.1 0.9 72.1 14.5 0.0 0.0
Maine 913 0.4 26.9 34.6 0.0 0.0 14.8
Maryland 4,216 21.3 1.2 42.1 30.8 4.3 0.8
Massachusetts 2,779 0.0 3.0 85.6 0.0 16.1 0.7
Michigan 9,916 27.4 1.5 43.2 22.1 0.4 3.7
Minnesota 5,654 33.1 1.8 24.5 21.8 4.1 12.4
Mississippi 7,165 7.5 0.0 77.1 13.1 0.6 0.0
Missouri 7,516 67.4 0.0 17.4 11.8 0.7 2.7
Montana 2,119 35.0 52.6 2.4 0.0 0.4 7.3
Nebraska 3,683 56.7 3.7 8.2 15.5 0.2 15.5
Nevada 4,203 6.4 5.0 66.6 0.0 15.5 0.6
New Hampshire 1,751 0.0 4.5 35.5 52.9 1.0 1.9
New Jersey 7,402 1.1 0.0 60.4 34.6 6.1 0.0
New Mexico 3,532 42.6 0.0 38.4 0.0 6.5 12.9
New York 14,319 0.0 17.9 55.4 22.1 2.7 2.2
North Carolina 13,743 26.3 3.4 33.3 28.0 7.4 0.2
North Dakota 3,534 63.7 9.6 4.8 0.0 0.0 21.6
Ohio 11,923 38.1 0.0 46.0 13.1 0.6 0.7
Oklahoma 9,037 12.5 1.3 64.2 0.0 0.1 21.7
Oregon 5,625 3.5 53.0 25.7 0.0 0.2 13.6
Pennsylvania 23,669 11.4 1.3 57.4 28.0 0.4 1.0
Rhode Island 889 0.0 0.0 94.5 0.0 5.6 1.5
South Carolina 9,763 16.6 1.8 27.9 50.5 2.5 0.0
South Dakota 1,405 12.0 47.3 16.7 0.0 0.0 23.9
Tennessee 8,415 29.6 9.1 21.5 39.3 0.6 0.0
Texas 49,352 16.7 0.0 58.2 7.5 2.2 14.8
Utah 3,372 55.8 2.6 29.7 0.0 9.6 2.2
Vermont 177 0.0 49.7 0.0 0.0 24.3 14.1
Virginia 11,037 10.0 1.2 61.5 23.9 1.6 0.0
Washington 10,773 1.9 74.7 9.6 7.1 0.0 5.1
West Virginia 6,690 90.3 2.1 5.8 0.0 0.0 1.6
Wisconsin 6,469 44.8 3.6 33.8 13.7 0.4 1.8
Wyoming 3,849 83.7 2.5 4.2 0.0 0.3 8.4
U.S. 412,579 15.9 6.9 34.7 16.3 3.3 7.3

Which states top the coal and natural gas charts?

Coal long has been considered the “dirtiest” fuel for electricity production, though generators have made great strides in recent years to lessen its impact on the environment. Nearly 16 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. during July came from coal.

Top 10 states using coal to generate electricity

State % from coal State % from coal
West Virginia 90.3 Nebraska 56.7
Wyoming 83.7 Indiana 56.6
Kentucky 68.2 Utah 55.8
Missouri 67.4 Wisconsin 44.8
North Dakota 63.7 New Mexico 42.6

Natural gas burns cleaner, but many environmentalists warn that its use produces methane. Here are the states that get the largest part of their electricity from natural gas.

Top 10 states using natural gas to generate electricity

State % from natural gas State % from natural gas
Rhode Island 94.5 Louisiana 72.1
Delaware 88.9 Nevada 66.6
Massachusetts 85.6 Oklahoma 64.2
Mississippi 77.1 Virginia 61.5
Florida 76.5 Connecticut 60.8

The leaders in green energy production

Hydroelectric power is one of the cleanest energy producers. Washington depends heavily on hydroelectric power – one of the reasons the state consistently has one of the lowest average electricity rates by state.

Top 10 states using hydroelectric generation for electricity

State % from hydroelectric State % from hydroelectric
Washington 74.7 South Dakota 47.3
Idaho 59.6 Maine 26.9
Oregon 53.0 Alaska 25.1
Montana 52.6 New York 17.9
Vermont 49.7 California 13.6

It likely comes as little surprise that California is among the leading solar producers.

Top 10 states using solar to generate electricity

State % from solar State % from solar
California 28.0 Utah 9.6
Vermont 24.3 Arizona 7.9
Hawaii 21.6 North Carolina 7.4
Massachusetts 16.1 New Mexico 6.5
Nevada 15.5 New Jersey 6.1

States along tornado alley lead the way when it comes to producing electricity from wind turbines. But some unlikely candidates also are big producers:

Top 10 states using wind to generate electricity

State % from wind State % from wind
Kansas 31.3 Colorado 19.0
Iowa 30.3 Nebraska 15.5
South Dakota 23.9 Texas 14.8
Oklahoma 21.7 Maine 14.8
North Dakota 21.6 Vermont 14.1

What about nuclear?

Is nuclear power clean or dirty? It depends on your perspective. It produces a far smaller carbon footprint than coal, oil, or natural gas, so in that respect it’s clean. But there’s the problem of what to do with the spent fuel – it’s difficult to overlook that problem.

That said, let’s put nuclear power in its own category.

Top 10 states using nuclear power to generate electricity

State % from nuclear State % from nuclear
New Hampshire 52.9 New Jersey 34.6
South Carolina 50.5 Maryland 30.8
Illinois 48.6 North Carolina 28.0
Tennessee 39.3 Pennsylvania 28.0
Connecticut 35.0 Alabama 25.6

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 (Last updated Oct. 2, 2020)